adjective, fewer, fewest.
not many but more than one: Few artists live luxuriously.
(used with a plural verb) a small number or amount: Send me a few.
the few, a special, limited number; the minority: That music appeals to the few.
(used with a plural verb) a small number of persons or things: A dozen people volunteered, but few have shown up.
few and far between, at widely separated intervals; infrequent: In Nevada the towns are few and far between.
quite a few, a fairly large number; many: There were quite a few interesting things to do.

before 900; Middle English fewe, Old English fēawe; cognate with Gothic fawai; akin to Latin paucus few, paulus little, pauper poor, Greek paûros little, few

overfew, adjective
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
few (fjuː)
1.  a.  a small number of; hardly any: few men are so cruel
 b.  (as pronoun; functioning as plural): many are called but few are chosen
2.  (preceded by a)
 a.  a small number of: a few drinks
 b.  (as pronoun; functioning as plural): a few of you
3.  informal a good few several
4.  few and far between
 a.  at great intervals; widely spaced
 b.  not abundant; scarce
5.  have a few, have a few too many to consume several (or too many) alcoholic drinks
6.  informal not a few, quite a few several
7.  the few Compare many a small number of people considered as a class: the few who fell at Thermopylae
[Old English fēawa; related to Old High German fao little, Old Norse fār little, silent]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin & History

O.E. feawe (contracted to fea), from Gmc. *faw- (cf. O.N. far, Dan. faa, O.Fris. fe, O.H.G. foh "little," Goth. fawai "few"), from PIE *pau- "smallness" (cf. L. paucus "few, little," paullus "little," pauper "poor;" Gk. pauros "few, little," pais (gen. paidos) "child;" L. puer "child, boy," pullus "young
animal;" Oscan puklu "child;" Skt. potah "a young animal," putrah "son;" O.C.S. puta "bird;" Lith. putytis "young animal, young bird"). Always plural in O.E. Phrase few and far between attested from 1668. Unusual ironic use in quite a few "many" (1883), earlier a good few (1828).
"Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few." [Winston Churchill, 1940]
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases


In addition to the idioms beginning with few, also see a few; bricks shy of a load, (a few); of few words; precious few; quite a bit (few).

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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Example sentences
In-flight brought some pleasant surprises and also a few more kinks.
But the process of building the new garden turned into an adventure with a few
  unforeseen twists.
If rain doesn't do the job for you, moisten the bed thoroughly a few days
  before you intend to plant.
As the last few years demonstrate, financial innovations can be used as tools
  of economic destruction.
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